Encouragement, Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Can’t Find The Words

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Lord, today I pray for the momma that can’t find the words. She can’t find the words to explain how her heart and mind are flooded with more emotions than she has the words to express. Right now Lord, she feels like her world is spinning out of control and she doesn’t know how much more she can handle. As the tears stream down her face, she wants to call out to You Father. As she is gasping for her next breath in between her sobs, she wants to tell you how desperately she needs your help. She wants to tell you that she needs You to listen to her as she pours her heart out to you, and that she longs for you to wrap her in your love, calm her fears, and to let her know that everything is going to be okay,  but no matter how hard she tries, the words just won’t come. With each word she attempts to speak, the tears only flow harder, and the words stall upon her tongue. It’s been a while since she’s talked to you Lord, and she wonders if you still even hear her; if you still even care for her. Things haven’t gone the way that she though they would Lord, and she just doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know what to do, and she has no where else to turn. She needs you to move in her life Father. She’s tired and she’s broken, and she can’t carry these burdens alone anymore. She wants to tell you Lord, but the words… they just won’t come. Lord, I don’t know what she is going through, but I know that you do. I don’t know the fears that have kept her awake at night, nor the pain she might be experiencing right now, but I know that you see every tear that she has cried and that you are with her this very moment. Father, I pray that you will speak peace unto her heart today. Remind her that even when her words won’t come, that you hear her heart. You know every detail of her life and her circumstances…and she didn’t have to utter a word. Thank you for Lord for hearing our prayers even when our burdened hearts won’t allow us to speak. Thank you for your Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf with groans that our words could never even express ( Romans 8:26). I thank you for what you are doing in this momma’s life today Lord. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Encouragement

He Wants My Heart

     you-own-the-skies-and-still-you-want-my-heart-23308054     It’s 8:00 AM and your alarm begins blaring…an hour later than it was supposed to have gone off. You must have been so tired last night when you set it, that you hit the wrong button. It feels as if you’ve only blinked while you slowly creep from your warm bed , stumble to your coffee pot, and recite the mental checklist you’ve quickly compiled in your mind of everything you need to get accomplished before heading out the door to make morning service. You were 15 minutes late last week and you are determined to be on time this Sunday. You jump in the shower and quickly put yourself together and begin waking up the children to get dressed. Your husband hits the snooze a few more times before finally making his way out of the bedroom and into the shower for himself. Breakfast is cold cereal again this morning, but the children don’t seem to mind. Everyone is moving slower than you had anticipated and you find yourself starting to feel slightly anxious. Time is ticking and there is still so much to be done. In the rush of the morning, the beautifully pristine home you worked your entire Saturday on has unequivocally earned a guest spot of the next episode of Hoarders. Patience is diminishing and anger begins to surface. While you exhaustedly run around looking for the mates to lost shoes (I will never understand how all of my children can lose one of EVERY pair of shoes that they own simultaneously), your husband calls out from the bathroom stating that he is unable to find his beloved striped shirt. He’s looked everywhere in the closet, but just it isn’t there. He’s absolutely sure of it. You go to the said closet and retrieve his “absolutely not there” striped shirt with a begrudged smile, and hustle back down the hallway to check on the progress of all of the children who are supposed to be getting dressed in what you had originally planned to be beautiful frilly dresses and freshly ironed clean slacks and dress shirts. There is no time this morning, so wrinkly jeans, t-shirts, and leggings it is. Upon the realization that you have apparently been talking to yourself for the last 30 minutes because everyone is still leisuring in their pajamas, you lose your temper. You raise you voice and spout things out of anger before you even realize the extent of what you have said.  Your mind is teeming with thoughts… “Do they not realize how much hard work and effort it takes for me just to get them out of the front door? Do they not care how hard I work? They really don’t appreciate me. I’m just wasting my time. I worked on this house all day yesterday and look at it now. I bet other mother’s don’t go through this. What does it matter anyways. I might as well just give up!” You fight back the tears while packing the last of the diapers in your bag. You’re aforementioned outburst has everyone tiptoeing around you quietly afraid of triggering another outburst. You feel like a jerk for yelling but FINALLY, everyone is dressed. You are mere moments away from loading your crew into the van when the baby spits up on your dress. You run in to change yourself and the baby and by this point, your frustration has reached a new high. “I don’t even want to go anymore. It’d be easier to just stay home this morning. I just don’t have the energy to deal with all of this today.” You take a few deep breaths, choking back the tears of defeat and discouragement, but just as you snap the last button on the baby’s clean onesie, you hear Him. You hear Him speak the words ever so softly. “I only want your hearts”. Those words spark a revelation that makes the tears spill over despite your best efforts. God doesn’t care how clean my house is or if the kids had to eat cold cereal for breakfast. He doesn’t care if the jeans are wrinkled or if all of the kids even have matching shoes on for that matter. He doesn’t care about any of that… He cares about me. He cares about my husband, and he cares about our children. He wants our hearts and that is all.

     We too often fall into self made traps of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations that we have set for ourselves. How many times have we set the mom bar at unreachable levels for ourselves, pushed ourselves to extreme limits, and have given up when we are completely exhausted with the outcome? We allow society, social media, and even the opinions of well intentioned individuals to make us feel like our best is simply not good enough, but Momma, you ARE enough. Your worth doesn’t come from your accomplishments. It doesn’t come from how sparkly your kitchen countertop is or how perfect your daughter’s french braids are. It’s not found in your bank account, your education level, or your circle of friends. Your worth is not found in who you are but in WHOSE you are.  You are His and He loves you! 

This mom thing… it’s hard. It’s really hard, but mommas, we can’t lost sight of the gift and the opportunity that God has given us as mothers. He has entrusted us to raise these children for Him. We have been given a privilege to instill big seeds in little hearts. The enemy wants to steal the joy that comes from motherhood with small trivial occurrences that discourage us and make us feel depleted. The piles of dirty dishes and mounds of dirty laundry seem daunting and overwhelming to us now, but 5 years from now we won’t remember them. We will remember the meals eaten on those dirty dishes and the trips to play in the rain that helped to add to that mound of dirty laundry.

Give yourself some grace today momma. It’s okay if you don’t get it all done. When the enemy makes your frustrations outweigh your joy, strive to give the same grace to your family and to yourself as God gives to you. We make mistakes, we don’t listen to Him, we operate on our own timelines, we are unappreciative of all of the blessings that He has given us, and we throw up our hands and quit the moment things don’t go our way… in essence we’re all just really big toddlers trapped inside adult bodies. God will always forgive us, offer us loving correction, and encourage us to keep going. God will never give up on us or stop loving us no matter how many times we mess up. What you are doing in your home matters momma so don’t give up. You are changing the world one set of sticky fingerprints at a time.

Encouragement, Homeschooling

Motherhood…Cropped To Perfection

 

 

 

   –  “All that glitters is not gold” –

 

In a world that revolves around technology, it comes as no surprise that social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have taken such a powerful hold upon us as people today.  We have been handed open platforms that we can share our thoughts, feelings, and opinions on. We have the ability to stay up to date on current events and keep abreast of the latest trends and fashions. We are able to make connections with other individuals that we might otherwise have never formed connections with to begin with. While social media does offer us many positive commodities, I have become more mindful and aware of many of the not-so-positive aspects that come along with the use of social media.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in all of the false realities that we scroll past on our social media newsfeeds. Pristine homes of grandeur, perfect figures with flawless complexions, and numerous selfies providing us with only small glimpses into seemingly quintessential lives, more often than not recruit us as the newest contestant on the “Comparison Game Show”. We so quickly make judgements and unfounded presumptions based upon a single photograph…one single photograph. “Her life seems so perfect. She has it all. I could never measure up to her. My life compared to hers is nothing short of a failure. She just had a baby and it looks like she just left a beauty parlor. Why can’t I be like her?” We’ve all done it, whether we like to admit to it or not, but the “Comparison Game Show” is a slippery slope. A slippery slope that if not quickly bridled, can leave us feeling lonely, depressed, jealous, anxious, and cumulatively unhappy with life. One of the hardest hit demographics on the “Comparison Game Show” is that of mothers.

Becoming a mother has been one of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me. Truly, it’s all that I have ever wanted out of life. As a little girl I dreamed of being a wife and a mother. It’s where my heart was. It’s what I longed for and prayed for every night from the age of 7. Even at a young age (before the age of social media had even began) I was met with adversity because “I should want a career and more out of my life”. Even at a young age, I began to compare myself to other mothers. In retrospect, it seems almost cretinous that I, still being a child myself, had already begun noticing the tension and animosity that came with expressing my hopes, dreams, and desires. I began to ask myself, ” Am I wrong? Are my dreams not good enough? Will I ever be able to be enough?”

Fast forward to my life today… I am happily married to my husband of 14 years. We have been blessed with 6 beautiful children here on Earth (and 2 more in Heaven). I stay at home and homeschool our children while my husband works outside of the home to provide for our family. We are very involved in our church and enjoy our ministries of working with and teaching other children about God and His love for them. I love my life and couldn’t imagine it any other way! I’m so happy and my heart overflows with joy! God has truly given me the desires of my heart that I have prayed for since being that little girl filled with all of those hopes and dreams of marriage and motherhood, but I have all too easily been affected by the negative thoughts, views, and opinions of others about my life and the choices that I have made.

By comparing myself to others, I have at times made myself feel lonely. I’ve made myself feel depressed and sad, and in all honesty, I too have felt jealous at times while peering into the lives of others. There is an undefinable amount of pressure placed on women today. If you don’t have children, somebody somewhere has something negative to say about it. If you do have children, somebody will have something negative to say about it. If you breastfeed, if you formula feed, if you work outside the home, if you stay at home, if you choose traditional or alternative education choices for your children, entirely organic diets versus diets teeming with chicken nuggets and french fries, right down to the choice of diapers you put on your little ones’ bottoms… someone will ALWAYS hold a different opinion from your own (and some of them aren’t too shy to let you know about it). We mistakenly allow other’s thoughts and opinions to make us feel as though our own thoughts and opinions are “wrong” or that they are not held to the same level of esteem. WHY? WHY do we do that to ourselves?

There are underlying circumstances that we can’t always see from a cropped photograph that pops up on our timeline. Messy kitchens and bathrooms can be cropped out and edited, corrections can be photoshopped, and those magical little photo filters give our skin that perfect glow. We seem to forget that that “perfect” photo might have taken 50 tries to get that right angle of “perfection”. It’s time that we as women realize that our lives were never meant to be about COMPARISON. Our lives were meant to be about COMPASSION! Our love for others can impact the world! We allow the enemy to steal our joy every time that we compare ourselves to others and give life to the thoughts that we will never measure up to the imaginary standards that we have designed in our minds. Life is so much more than selfies, perfectly edited statuses, and cleverly thought out hash-tags.

Our words and actions hold so much power, and it’s up to us to decide how we want to use them. We have the ability and the opportunity to lift one another up and encourage one another as God’s Word instructs us to do (1 THESSALONIANS 5:11-13) or we can tear down, destroy, and destruct. Social media is permeated with keyboard warriors that seem to know every detail of our life and the way that we “should” be doing things. They are entitled to their thoughts and opinions, but we don’t have to become a slave to these. I know what God has called me to do. There is such freedom that comes from finding your identity in Christ as opposed to finding your identity in the thoughts and opinions of others. I am who God says that I am! I don’t have to be anything else! I know the calling that He has placed on my life, and I don’t have to offer explanations or excuses to anyone for it. Others won’t always agree with me, and that’s OKAY! They don’t have to! God has placed a different calling on their lives, and it is simply that…it’s THEIRS…not mine. When the harsh words flow and the unfriendly comments post, I can simply smile and move on.

Regardless of choices, thoughts, and opinions, we as mothers do hold some common ground. We are all just momma’s that love our children, and we are doing the very best that we can everyday. Let’s ENJOY the life that God has given US and ENCOURAGE others along their walks as well. Reality isn’t perfection. Reality is puke covered t-shirts, and baggy eyes from sleepless night. Reality is stretch marks and endless piles of laundry. Reality is filled with good, happy wonderful times, but it is also infused with pain, sorry, disappointment, and grief. I don’t want to feel like I need to crop out the mess. I don’t want to edit out the imperfections. Those messes and imperfections are reality…my reality. It’s real motherhood… real motherhood and all of the beautiful chaos that comes with it. Ask yourself today…Do you live a life that revolves around comparison, or are you leading a life that is fueled by compassion? Hang in there momma’s! You are making a difference in the world, one set of sticky fingerprints at a time… regardless of what anyone else may say.

handprints

Encouragement

Hot Mess Express

All Aboard The Hot Mess Express

You pull into the parking lot on 2 wheels, while gently ushering (who am I kidding, you’re flat out yelling right now) at your kids to get their shoes back on, to stop poking one another, and to quit wiping their snot on the clothes you spent 30 minutes digging out of Mt. Clothesoovious, that sprung to life in your bedroom 2 weeks ago that you’ve yet found the time or energy to tackle,( don’t even get me started on finding a matching pair of socks ) and you threaten their mere existence if they unbuckle ONE more time before your van stops moving completely. Church started 10 minutes ago and time is ticking. You frantically jump out after throwing your van into park, heart racing, sweat dripping (you remember the extra strength deodorant you bought sitting on the bathroom counter (that you forgot to put on) because everyone suddenly was unable to blink on their own and needed you to do it FOR them simultaneously). You find some auto fabric freshener and decide its better than nothing and douse yourself with “New Car Scent”. You begin unbuckling car seats, reviewing manners and behavior expectations while herding the small army you and your husband created towards the church doors. You’re almost there! A-L-M-O-S-T! You reach for your purse/diaper/mom bag, but you can’t find it. You jump back in the van and start digging through the 4 inches of french fries and Goldfish crackers covering the floor. You suddenly remember it’s sitting by the bathroom door, where you left it, when you’re family decided they wanted to try for the Olympic gold medal for synchronized pooping when it was time to walk out the door. You feel that frustration start rising. The tears start welling up. While stepping out of the van you snag your sweater and it rips. Last straw level…reached. Your sweet, loving, kindhearted, good intentioned husband asks you if you’re okay and with one deep “Big Bad Wolf” inhalation, you recap your entire morning, while tears start rolling down your cheeks and you answer with a snarky, “Oh I’m FINE! JUST FINE!”. He looks at you like a deer paralyzed looking into oncoming traffic, afraid that if he moves the wrong way, he WILL die. Satan starts telling you what a terrible mom and wife you are. He fills your head with mom-guilt (your kids are going to hate you and move out on their own by the age of 6 because you’re a terrible human being) He tells you…look at you, all of these other moms have it together…you don’t see them pulling in here, hysterical and smelling like an air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror. You wipe the mascara off your cheeks (remembering you should have got waterproof) and then… here it comes…PSALM 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

REVELATION! When I allow myself to get caught up in the rush, in the chaos, in the trivial things of this world and I take my eyes and focus off of the important things of God…I land myself in an overwhelmed and exhausted mess, EVERYTIME. I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior and draw my strength and joy from HIM! I have to turn my worries into worship and transform my anxieties into praises for HIM! My hope is in the LORD! NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, “has it all together”, but GREATER IS HE LIVING IN ME, THAN HE THAT IS IN THIS WORLD. (JOHN 4:4) We ALL struggle but how we choose to handle it makes the difference. ❤ Make an effort to praise HIM through your struggles today. God loves you and I do to!